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LSU President Tom Galligan talks to 2une In about the upcoming start of classes at LSU

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BATON ROUGE - Nearly eight months ago, Tom Galligan, the dean of LSU Law, was selected as LSU's interim president and he accepted the role graciously. 

The Stanford educated legal scholar said in response to his appointment, “I am honored to have been selected as Interim President, I am excited about the opportunity to serve LSU during this time of transition."

Since the departure of former LSU president F. King Alexander, Galligan has carried out his new responsibilities with masterful competence, and he's done so during one of the most difficult times in recent history.

In March of 2020, when outbreaks of novel coronavirus made their way into the U.S. and then into Louisiana, Galligan and his colleagues responded quickly, taking measures to protect the LSU community.

On March 23 LSU's campus was shut down, and since that date Galligan has been guiding the 160 year old university through the reopening of the campus amid a pandemic. 

But as LSU regains its footing amid the blow dealt by COVID-19, many have questions related to the start of classes next Monday (August 24) and to the upcoming football season.

These questions and more were addressed by President Galligan himself during a Tuesday (August 18) morning interview with WBRZ's 2une In anchors.

Galligan told 2une In he's confident in LSU's preparation for the upcoming semester, as long as students and others on campus follow issued guidelines.

Galligan said, "We have got to be absolutely and totally careful. Keep doing the things that we say. Wear the masks, wash the hands, sneeze into the elbow. And if in fact, we have an outbreak we have plans to deal with isolation and with quarantine. And if the situation gets really bad then we will go back to remote learning."

In describing exactly what LSU is doing to protect teachers and students from COVID, Galligan said, "We have a really good plan that we've been working on since March. And again, it all depends upon us not doing dumb things. So, keep doing what we have to keep doing."

Should clusters occur on campus, Galligan said, "We'll have space available for quarantine, we'll have space available for isolation. We will be monitoring the situation."

"We have what I call a 'trigger' or 'temperature map,'" he explained. "And it's basically a list of factors that we will be watching throughout the entire semester. As we watch. And it will be things like, faculty and staff absenteeism, number of positive cases that we've had, what's our capacity look like in our isolation and our quarantine, what's our capacity look like in East Baton Rouge Parish? How are the cases looking in the state and in East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, and surrounding areas? what  And as we monitor all of these factors, if it looks bad then we will go back to all remote learning environment."

Galligan stressed the importance of following CDC and state protocol, saying, "We hold our future in our own hands."

When asked if Tiger Stadium will be home to any games this fall, he replied, "We really hope there will be football in Tiger Stadium. We've got a great plan for safety."

He said he hopes to encourage fans who remain outside of the stadium to come inside, saying, "One of the wonderful things about Tiger Stadium is it's outside, and this disease does not do as well outside as it does inside. The trick is going to be to get our fans from outside the stadium to inside the stadium even though they're outside but they've got to go through the inside."

"So we've got plans for ingress, we've got plans for egress, concessions," Galligan continued, "Whether we have 50% of the fans in the stadium or a small number will depend upon the state of, again, the campus help, the community help as we move closer to September 26."

The President also mentioned the long-time fan tradition of setting up camp on campus to tailgate, but not to buy a ticket to the game, will have to change. 

Galligan said, "What worries me the most about tailgating is all the people who come who don't necessarily go to the game. So I would urge people to use restraint, be careful."  

When asked what message he'd like to get across to members of the LSU community, including fans, the President replied, "Wear your mask, wash your hands, stay as physically distant as you can."

"We've got signs that you go in a building one way, you go out a building another way. So, obey the signs," he advised. "One thing I've got to say about masks. We've got to wear them inside. We've got to wear them when entering and exiting buildings. But even when we're outside, if we're within six feet of someone for an extended period of time, we've got to wear our masks. Don't do dumb things." 

For more information on LSU, visit www.lsu.edu.


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